Travel Destinations Myanmar
Yangon formerly Rangoon, was the capital of Myanmar until it was superseded by Naypyidaw in November 2005. Today, with a population of over 5 million people, it remains the largest city and main economic hub of Myanmar. The city is an amalgamation of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences, and is known for its colonial architecture, which although decaying and beyond appreciation, remains an almost unique example of a 19th-century British colonial capital.
New high-rise buildings were constructed from the 1990s (and some are scarily unoccupied and left as ghost skyscrapers and hotels as seen along Upper Pansodan Rd.) as the government began to allow private investment (while former national government buildings such as the massive Secretariat Building, as the capital is shifted to Naypyidaw, have been left to rot). However, Yangon continues to be a city of the past, as seen by its longyi-wearing, betel nut chewing and spitting pedestrians, their friendly or even familial attitude towards strangers, its street vendors and its pungent smells.
Only two Burmese kings ruled from there, King Mingdon and King Thibaw, before the British conquest of Upper Burma in 1885. It was a city of splendor between 1858 and 1885 but most of the magnificence is gone, destroyed by the fire that consumes wooden structures and by intensive bombing by the Allies during the Second World War. The city, neatly planned with its lettered roads and numbered streets, is a British creation.
The once magnificent Royal Palace and the great Atumashi (incomparable) pagoda, King Mingdon Min’s finest creations, are modern reconstructions supervised by the ruling Military junta with the help of forced labour. Today, Mandalay lies at the end of the Lashio Road and it is, by Burmese standards, relatively prosperous as a centre for trade with China and as a centre for the growing trade with India. Despite the capital having been moved to Naypyidaw, Mandalay remains by far the main commerical centre of Upper Myanmar.
With regards to tour comparison between this immense archeological site and the other significant archeological gem of Southeast Asia, the Angkor sites, an analogy would food: savouring the Angkor sites is like in a Chinese Lauriat banquet where the temples are presented in grand spectacular and exquisite servings and takes a long while (about 10 to 15 minutes) to get to the next. While Bagan is served Spanish Tapas style, in small bite size servings, often in frequent intervals and near to each other.
Another analogy between Angkor and Bagan Sites when it comes to distinguishing temple structures is through the stupa and sphire shapes. Artichokes and corncobs = Angkor while gourds and durians = Bagan. An example is gourd for Shwezigon Pagoda and durian (or pineapple) for Ananda, Thatbyinnyu, and Mahabodi Temples. Or in another way, Bagan temples are like topped with inverted ice cream cones.
The lake drains through the Nam Pilu or Balu Chaung on its southern end. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore.Although not a large lake, there are a number of endemic species. Over twenty species of snails and nine species of fish are found nowhere else in the world. Some of these, like the silver-blue scaleless Sawbwa barb, the crossbanded dwarf danio, and the Lake Inle danio, are of minor commercial importance for the aquarium trade. It hosts approximately 20,000 brown and black head migratory seagulls in November, December and January.
The town began as a military outpost established near a small Shan village with two dozen households  situated on the Lashio-Mandalay trail between Nawnghkio and Mandalay. In 1896, a permanent military post was established in the town and later, because of its climate, it became a hill station and the summer capital of British Burma.
The establishment in Burma (civil, commercial and military) would move to Maymyo during the hot season to escape from the high heat and humidity of Rangoon. During British rule and through the 1970s, Maymyo had a large Anglo-Burmese population, but this steadily declined. During the Japanese occupation, as many Anglos were concentrated in and around Maymyo, the Japanese incarcerated many of them for fear of their loyalty to the British very close to Maymyo. Today though, Maymyo still has one of the larger hold over populations of Anglo-Burmese in the country.
The British named the location Maymyo, literally May’s Town in Burmese, after Colonel May, a veteran of the Indian Mutiny and commander of the Bengal Regiment temporarily stationed at the location of the town in 1887. The military government of Burma renamed the town Pyin U Lwin.
Mrauk U lies roughly 11 km east of the Kaladan River on the banks of its minor tributaries. The town is located on a small outcrop of the Rakhine Yoma on the eastern side of the Kaladan’s alluvial plain. Thus, the surrounding countryside is hilly yet also contains a great deal of marshes, mangroves and lakes.